Looking after yourself, by yourself

Looking after yourself written over a picture of a person with long blonde hair, looking out to the ocean

Here in the Online Community, we know the power that peer support can have. Spending time with a loved one or talking to someone online who knows what you’re going through, can be incredibly important sources of support. However, sometimes there might be nobody around when you need support, or you might not want to talk to someone right now. Your friends and family might be busy, and you might be waiting on a reply to your post on the Online Community. In today’s Community News blog, we’re exploring ways you can help yourself feel better, self-care and looking after yourself when you’re feeling low.

What helps each of us feel better can be very individual. There are likely to be many things that you find helpful, that might not be included in this blog. However, we hope that this blog might be a good starting point, if you’re not sure what to do to feel better just now.

5 minutes at a time

Mind, a charity dedicated to providing mental health guidance and support, have a 5-minute step by step tool to help you feel calmer.

Some of their ideas for getting through the next couple of hours and helping yourself cope with how you feel include:

“Some days I don’t feel I have any coping methods but generally I take each day an hour at a time.”


“What works for me is taking the dogs out, plugging my iPhone into my ears and listening to my playlists.  And singing!”


Mind also have lots of other relaxation exercises which might help you feel better. These aren’t all around physical exercise, although some people can find gentle exercise helpful when they’re feeling worried. Other ideas that you could do by yourself at home include:

If you would like to find out more about exercise, try reading our Community News blog, “Exercise and moving your body.”

24-hour helplines and webchat services

If you would like to talk to someone right now, there are services available who can help.

  • Shout Crisis Textline - If you need immediate support, you can text SHOUT to 85258 and talk to a trained volunteer. The service is free on most networks in the UK and available 24 hours a day.
  • The Samaritans helpline – You can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day for free on 116 123. They are also piloting a new webchat service.

“Perhaps the simplest thing would be to ring the [Macmillan] helpline 0808 808 0000 [7 days a week, 8am-8pm] it's a free call and they will so understand”


Finding comfort from the Community

Lots of members say things like that they can find it helpful just to read posts on the Online Community. With over 90,000 active members, there’s lots of conversations and support to explore.

LoobyLou49 in the “Carers only” forum, started a discussion thread around tips for looking after yourself. This thread includes lots of ideas from members around what helps them feel better.

“I am learning a lot by reading posts here many of them  answers a lot of my questions”


You can read other members’ posts in any group just by scrolling through the discussion list. If you click on the title of a discussion, you’ll be taken to the discussion thread.

If you’re looking to read stories about a particular treatment, for example, you can use the search bar at the top of the screen on the Online Community.

If you use this search bar while you’re in a particular group, you are able to search for results just within that group. You can change this to search the whole Community by clicking “Anywhere” from the options below the search bar.

Search bar, with "chemotherapy" written in the box.

Click “Advanced search” at the bottom of the search pop-up to tailor your options further.

Advanced search option

When you click “Advanced search”, you’re able to change “Most relevant” from the list of options on the left, to “Most recent.” This will mean that you’ll see the most recent conversations around the topic you’ve searched.

'Most recent' option, from the list of options following advanced search.

Remember you don’t necessarily have to look up conversations about cancer and treatment if you’d prefer not to. For example, if you search “Favourite film”, you’ll find lots of threads on the Online Community where members have chatted about films they enjoy, and films they found easy to watch or distracting.

 “Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be honest and admit that you’re not coping. People want to help.”


You’re not alone in what you’re going through, even if you’re by yourself right now. It’s still important to reach out for help when you need it, and find comfort from others who can understand how you feel. However, we hope you might feel you have some ideas for what you can do when you’re not able to talk to a loved one or someone on the Online Community right away.

Read more about self-care

If you don’t feel you need help or support right away, but you’re interested in exploring self-care ideas to help you feel better in your day-to-day life, we have lots of other blogs you might find useful.

What helps you to feel better, or your favourite self-care tips? Share your tips in the comments below.

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